In RR's review of the Infinity Primus P162 he states his set up for home theater includes only two front speakers. He sites several reasons for choosing this set up including this, "Second, I don't see the need for a center channel speaker, provided the main L/R speakers have broad horizontal dispersion. Finally, I don't find that bass needs to be "managed" by a separate low-frequency channel. I've found that the home thater experience can be very satisfying in a two channel set up, provided the stereo pair of speakers can sufficiently reproduce convincing home theater bass with a sense of high level dynamic drama without compression." (p. 185) Later he admits to watching an HBO series, I assume broadcast in DD, at levels which forced his wife to ask him to turn down the volume. (p.187)
The question has been raised (and from what I understand the answer is in Dolby's white paper on the DD format) regarding the midnight mode of compression when the 5.1 original soundtrack is downmixed to anything less than 5.1 speakers. Apparently, when speakers are removed from the 5.1 mix, particularly the center channel, the DD format automatically engages the midnight mode compession which will apply as much as 15dB of compression to the signal. By playing the HBO broadcast's soundtrack with high compression at high volume levels, is it possible this is the reason RR's wife found the SPL's so annoying? In other words, it was not the dynamic capbility of the Infinities which annoyed her but rather the lack of dynamics and the overall higher level of everything.
Scroll down to; September 14th, 2006, 5:31 PM.